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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  November 11, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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>> hello, i'm llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle." i'm speaking to you from houston, texas, the pulsing heart of the energy industry of the world. this is where it all comes together. and we are covering, and this will be the second episode, a
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special conference organized by the world energy council and its american chapter united states energy association, with seven billion people on earth, we're going to need a lot of food, a lot of water, and a lot of energy. >> many have spoken out of the need to move to a clean energy future. at exxon, we are displacing more than 1,500 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, helping our customers reduce their emissions and offering more low carbon electricity in the marketplace. at exxon, we are taking action and we are seeing results. >> and now, the program host, llewellyn king and co-host, lynn ga gasparello.
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>> christoph frei is the secretary-general of the world energy council. an extraordinary organization head quartered in london, formed in 1923. across all energy sources and basically has as a philosophy that energy is good for people and doesn't advocate any particular source, any particular technology. welcome to the broadcast, christoph. >> thank you. >> did i get it right? >> you got it right. actually, very proud of the fact that we are unbiased, that we are in over 90 countries, 3,000 organizations working in those countries, and we look at the policy side, we look at technology aspects across the spectrum. >> you have three months, you have an enormous meeting. where is the next one? >> the last one was in montreal. the next one is in asia. it's in korea. and we look at korea as a place
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where really you can bridge the various parts of asia. >> never been to a world energy congress run by the world energy council. what's it like? what's it about? >> i think of it as the energy olympics. it's kind of the best performance in energy across the spectrum. the renewable side, the oil and gas side, on the policy side, the risk management side. they also offer what they can do. it's a good starting point for dialogue on what needs to be done. it's important we bring structure into that discussion by continuity into that process and scenarios and make sure that the dialogue leads -- >> energy is changing, isn't it? now the challenges are different region to region. >> that's correct. and i think the critical thing first before we say everything is changing is to remember that we come from a place where the
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energy said we are an industry that needs -- we have investments that last for 20, 40, 60 more years than that. how can we respond to a changing environment? but we now live in a time where actually changes are quite traumatic. three years ago, we have electric mobility coming out of basically nowhere. we have obviously the whole renewable industry that has built up momentum over the past years. we see question marks in the smart grid area. suddenly there is opportunities recognized on that side, and all those elements will affect the industry. >> you do studies, very serious academic studies. tell us about those. what's the methodology? what's the direction? how are they selected? and what is the impact of the studies? >> let me pick out the policy
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assessment. on the one hand, if you look at the policy assessment, i think one of the statements that we heard at our last congress -- that is not helpful to any industry that wants continuity transparency. >> this program normally originates from washington. we know something about policy. >> i think it's very critical that one actually -- it's not our job to say whether it's good or bad policy. it's our job -- in the huge policy, we can look at policies and ask what works and what doesn't. what is effective and what is not and provide feedback again on our observations. that's the first thing that we are doing with the policy assessment. we are discussing various models and providing feedback. an example we looked at in the renewable space, came out with conclusions that it may be
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stronger. that's one example. in the same policy assessment, you actually want to give feedback to government. if you look at what makes -- if you say for investors, one of the critical things, everybody needs investments. we have multi-trillion -- multi--dozens of trillions of investments going forward. if you want to track investments, every country needs to track investments. you can only do that if you have a robust framework. what makes a government work is the index. three fundamental pillars. security of supply side. there's the social, the affordability side, the environmental vieability side, and if you neglect one of those, sooner or later, you will have frustration building up. you will have a lobby building up in that space and disturbing
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your policy and take it from being very robust. so this is the first two that we are providing back as a public good. it's for free. we bring it back to the attention to the industry as well. and i think that's a very valuable tool to help increase sustainability in the energy sector. >> it's a pleasure. thank you so much for coming by. >> thank you. >> if you have ever had to carry a large container of water, you know how heavy it is. but part of the glory of the weight of water is when it falls through a turbine to produce electricity, it does so
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fabulously well with remarkably low maintenance and steady output, assuming that the water is there. to talk about hide ro electricity and the possibility that we might get some more of it is oskar sigvaldason, and he is an engineer who spent a lifetime of falling water, one might say. welcome to the broadcast. have all the dams been built? are we built up on hydro? are there any other possibilities? >> based on an estimates carried out a few years ago, it's estimated that about 30% of the economically, potentially developable hydro has now been constructed. there's at least 2/3 that has not been developed yet and that figure is probably conservative. >> environmentalists have turned
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against hydro, have they not? i have people in the american west who would like to take all the dams down and return to nature. they don't know what they'll do for electricity or certainly for recreation. >> there was a move certainly in the 1990's very much driven by environmentalists, which was really bringing to an end large dam construction, and with that meant large hydroelectric developments, which led to the commission carried out into the early part of this decade that really in many ways served to overstock the development of hydroelectric development worldwide. there is now a recognition that hydroprovides a tremendous contribution to the greenhouse gas challenge, in terms of being a competitive opportunity to
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thermo generation for electricity supply. and it's interesting to note that when we look at the life cycle cost of various forms of electricity, hydro is by far the lowest, even lower than nuclear and renewables, because once the operation, there is essentially no greenhouse gases produced and they are very low cost. >> a while back, there was a lot of vimet about low head hydro. low head hydro is something in the stream. >> right. >> basically a turbine in the stream without a dam. is that effective? is it working? >> it's working. there are quite a few installations in the world -- >> a wonderful one in the east river in new york.
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they talk about putting then if the dan youtube, but it's false flowing. >> there are installations in southeast asia that had in-stream generation. but it's expensive because the turbines are very large and the cost per kilowatt is much higher than it is for a conventional high head power plant. >> in europe and north america, have we lost our stomach for big engineering? >> i think it will slow down. it will slow down because for about two decades, the amount of new development has really slowed down, and it was really based on the premise that we didn't need any more n.f.c. there were very powerful lobby groups for that.
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demand is going to continue growing, and so there's new n.f.c. that's -- new infrastructure that's required. the whole process is made more complicated, but we have to find ways of getting through that process. >> asia is less intimidated by big, new projects. >> they are less intimidated. and they have systems, processes that allow projects to be built -- they don't go through is same hurdles as we do in north network. >> i have tried to promote the idea of constructive intrusion. when you build something in nature that at least doesn't deter from its natural beauty. it may possibly enhance it. don't you think we as a people should have more confidence in our ability to do it right? we have in the past.
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>> absolutely. when you look at the t.v.a. system or the b.p.a. system, these are magnificent structures. they're beautiful reservoirs. they're multiple purposes. they're flood control, navigation, lots of recreation, and so on. so i think the body of opinion is that once you have these systems constructed, that there really should not be a reason to remove them. >> i think of all those beautiful little islands in venice. >> absolutely. >> thank you so much. a pleasure. very nice. we pause for station identification. the audio from this program can be heard on sirius x.m. radio, channel 124. we are broadcast every saturday at 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. eastern time.
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we also broadcast around the globe by the voice of america english language service television. i'm joined now by ruth smith. general electric has been in the energy spotlight because the reactors at hiroshima were general electric reactors. what was the reaction? alarm, doubt, or pride that nothing extra happened? >> well, the first concern was to our employees. we actually had 44 hitachi employees and subcontractors on site the day of the earthquake. our first concern was to make sure they got out safely, which they did. second, to be available to all
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of our engineers to help assistant our customers. we did that. we stood up an emergency control room in wilmington, north carolina, where we are headquartered and in toke ya, where hitachi has its headquarters. and we staffed it 47, providing information and support. >> will there be large design changes? >> the really exciting news is that g.h. hitachi with design certification for the latest design generation three esbwr. and that is rated -- >> can you break those initials down for us? >> i call it the excellent simple safe simple boiling water reactor. but that's not what we call it. it's the latest design and it is a passive cold reactor. so in the unlikely event you
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would lose off site or on site power, gravity and circulation would keep that plant running for a minimum of seven days, and if you are able to add water to that plant, without any water involvement, you would be able to keep that plant operating. >> is g.e. working on a small reactor? >> g.e. hitachi is working on a small reactor that is a little different than the light water react stores you've been hearing about. we've been speaking about a prison. reactor. it was originally developed by the national laboratories. it also would use nuclear fuel. you would basically put the light water fuel through a recycling center where you would
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be able to get that fuel palate out. you would get 90% of the uranium value out of a recycled fuel palate and create a new form of -- >> what size would this small reactor be? >> right around 300 megawatts. it does qualify as a small reactor. you would place these recycling centers at locations around the country where you have existing nuclear plants and you would reduce the need to transport the fuel quite as far. >> and this would obviate the need for a permanent -- or reduce the need? >> reduce the need of a repository. you would still need to store materials for three 500 years. unlike the million that was envisioned for a long-term repository. it's a much shorter period of time. the other benefit to this technology is that you don't separate out the pure plutonium.
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so you eliminate some of the concerns. >> thank you so much for joining the broadcast. it's a pleasure. >> enjoyed it. >> klaus willnow is head of innovation at semens corporation. -- siemens corporation. his role is working with creative places. welcome to the broadcast. where is it a cutting edge? where does this innovation pay off in terms of consumer or just a better world because of it? >> speaking in energy terms
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where i belong to, there are a lot of opportunities and activities i think we are leading, because we have -- we call it a portfolio where we identified what are the products which are about average technology. interestingly, it came out that those products and solutions are so many available today where we are heading things, whether it is the world class -- where we have a best record worldwide. a 60% of efficiency. or is it very well approved wind turbine what we are producing. or you have class transmission grit technology or energy losses that are very, very low, and to
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allow to transmit power over very, very long distances. >> how are you overcoming land loss, which can be as much as 12% in many places, the thing you just talked about, loss of electricity. what is the technology that reverses that? >> what we there use is high voltage direct currents, which is a very old technology. >> at that time, you couldn't send it long distances. >> no, it's true. but at that time, there was the right approach to fulfill the energy needs, the electricity needs. it came out that that current is the more appropriate solution. now more than 100 years later, we learn the d.c. of the future, because it brings us to the possibility to connect areas
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where we have vast amount of renewable energies, but far away from the low centers. there's the benefit and advantage of transmission technology. >> in the united states, there's been a row manhunt sizeation -- row manhunt size -- because of technology, and they've done amazing things, all beginning humbly in the real metaphor call garage and then rising to become great innovators and changers of the world. but there is this romantic idea now that it is a teenager in a garage that's going to save the world. how do you deal with that teenager in the garage and get him into siemens, or her into siemens and listen to them? how do you find the kid in the
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garage and know that he's got the right ideas? >> that's a very good question. i think everybody would be lucky to find those kids who have a really good idea and bring it into to market. what we try, of course, is to be very open and offer the possibility that people can come to us or we come to them. and that is also something we experience in the united states very much, because you have a different, ideas where we can learn from. we have discussions, whether it is at the u.c. berkley university or m.i.t., those kind of universities where you talk and engage with these kind of young engineers or young people. next level would be that we also engaged in venture capital,
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really to go that route, to offer them the possibility. ok, your idea is so good, but it needs some kick start. and that is something we can offer. by this kick start, they learn about us and we learn about them. >> one of the tools you use is scholarships and there's a big one in the u.s., a $100,000 one. how does that work? >> that works actually very well. on the one side, a possibility to engage with those kind of students and young people. and also to acknowledge their capabilities and give them a background to work further on those subjects. we have very good experiences here in the united states, but also elsewhere. >> this appeals to me because it's pulling rather than pushing. if you watch the endeavors of
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the u.s. government, particularly in energy, they've always been pushing. give money, go and find a way. rather than saying you tell us the way, we'll tell you, if that makes sense. if my analogy makes sense. that prizes have actually worked very well in stimulating. in my opinion, they work better than grants to go out and find -- that people will find the way to do it, if there is a wig prize. it worked in aviation. in space, your scholarship is part of that tradition. >> yeah, we do it now for many, many years and in other parts of the world. and it is not just something you give away, saying yeah, it's a nice prize. it is a starting point for the people to become engaged, to learn about us, what are the intenses, and a scholarship is a very good tool.
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>> i like it. it's been a joy talking to you. and good luck with the new ideas. >> it was a pleasure. >> one of the things that strikes you when you walk around a conference, like the one i'm at in houston, organized by the world energy council and its u.s. bond, the united states energy association, is that it's predominantly a male world. men in suits. everywhere. very few women. so i've asked lauren dickerson to talk about women in energy. welcome to the broadcast. and you are fairly unique here, that the energy remained surprisingly behind the times in terms of bringing women in. >> you know, i think that's true.
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but i think that the way we think about energy is also drastically shifting, how energy -- the future of the energy industry is going to be in high-technology. in fact, the now of the energy industry is in high-technology. and if you look in biosciences, if you look in silicon valley, if you look in other high-tech industries globally, you'll find that women are becoming increasingly prominent in the highest corporate ranks as well as in the actual technical fields. >> what are the critical job areas in energy at the moment -- one of the critical job areas in energy at the moment is a need for geologists or nuclear energies? >> everything. major energy companies are expanding in ways that i would not have expected as a relative novice to the energy industry. and i never, ever would have expected to see companies like chevron, for example, talking -- yes, about their natural gas
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projects off the coast of western australia and about their acquisition for shell gas production, but also talking about their wind site farm in castro, wyoming. >> what about the small companies? you are rise to the top of a small company a lot more easily than a vast oil company with its many layers with bureaucracy and ambition people ahead of you in the pipeline. >> absolutely. >> is there room for great innovation the way we think of silicon valley as being innovative in computer sciences? >> absolutely. there are two companies that come to mind in the washington, d.c. area. a company called o power. and another company called grid point, that are working with software technology to help consumers to monitor how much power they're using. particular in the energy efficiency and conservations
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here, there are a number of incredibly innovative companies that are utilizing social media to accomplish a very important goal, which is making sure that we have enough energy in existence to continue to keep the lights on. >> lauren, your excitement is contagious. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. that's our program for today. remember, water, food, energy. the future of mankind, have all been worked on behind me here in houston. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> we are taking action and we are seeing results. >> from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle," a weekly analysis of
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the news with insight and a sense of humor, featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program may be seen on pbs stations and cable access exanl. to view the program

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